Freshman Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D) announced Saturday that he would not seek reelection after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment and one day after the House Ethic Committee opened an investigation. In a statement, he denied the allegations and expressed confidence he would clear his name. “However, the allegations that have surfaced would be a distraction from a fair and thorough discussion of the issues in a reelection campaign. Therefore, it is in the best interests of my family and my constituents to complete my term in Congress and not seek reelection,” he said. (release)
Kihuen leaves open a swingy Las Vegas-based seat that both parties plan to contest in 2018. The DCCC called it “a fundamentally Democratic district” that would remain in Democrats’ hands. Meanwhile, the NRCC called it “extremely troubling” that “the DCCC spending millions to prop up a candidate as they were aware of these allegations.” (releases)
Former Reps. Steven Horsford (D) and Cresent Hardy (R) are said to be considering runs for the seat. State Sen. Yvanna Cancela (D) and state Sen. Pat Spearman (D) were also mentioned as potential candidates. Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony (R) is already in the race. (Nevada Independent)
His retirement announcement comes after a fourth woman accused him of inappropriate conduct. “A 24-year-old woman who works at a Washington, D.C. firm that did business with … Kihuen’s campaign said the freshman congressman made unwanted overtures and asked overly personal questions of her this fall while his campaign was a client of her firm. … She said [he] made her feel flustered and uncomfortable, including Kihuen asking at the office why she didn’t have a boyfriend, asking if she lived alone and offering to help her move up in her career—something she interpreted as a possible suggestion for sexual favors. At one fundraiser, she said, he rubbed her lower back and kissed her face several times.” (Nevada Independent)
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